So, farewell then Inside Xbox. Even though you were made by Microsoft, you were actually worth watching (at least in the UK). And now you're going to be replaced by something "made by a third-party", which won't want to even nibble the hand that feeds it, So we can expect endless puff-pieces extolling the otherwise impossible-to-discern merits of Kinect games. So, instead of there being one TV programme about games that was worth watching, there are now none
It seems incredible now, but unlike entire generations who have recently discovered video games, I can remember a time when TV programmes weren't just a pipedream. Channel 4, alone, had a long and illustrious history of making games programmes, beginning with GamesMaster and encompassing lesser but still appreciated efforts like Thumb Bandits and Bits. Even then, of course, there were ten times as many TV programmes about films, or books, or music, or art, or TV. But at least the whole TV industry didn't completely deny the very existence of video games.
Now, the axing even of something as self-restricting as Inside Xbox - a TV programme aired on the Xbox 360, exclusively for Xbox 360 owners, made by Microsoft - feels symbolic. If one of the world's richest companies can't even be arsed to make (and broadcast) TV about its own games - in the face of the TV industry's complete denial of the existence of the games industry - will we ever see a video game on TV again? Even though the games industry spends such a vast amount on TV adverts?
WHY NO GAMES?
Like, I suspect, the majority of gamers, I find the absence of any games-related programming in the TV schedules frankly offensive. Imagine the outcry that would ensue if all the programmes about films suddenly disappeared from our screens. The reasons behind this ridiculous blind-spot, too, are hard to swallow. Essentially - and years of attempting to persuade TV companies to run programmes about games, until I admitted defeat about five years ago have led me to this conclusion - there are no games programmes on TV because the people who work in TV have their heads too far up their backsides.
Have you ever met anyone who works in TV? If so, you will know that, collectively, they are probably the most self-important bunch of tossers outside the House of Commons. And that's exactly why there are no TV programmes about video games any more. Nobody who works in TV has any interest in or understanding of games. That's because they are too busy running around saying to the world: "Look at us! We work in TV! Aren't we cool? Sorry - far too busy doing incredibly things to stop and talk," to ever find the time to actually play a game. Never mind that what they've actually been doing is spending five hours arguing about whether to swap a "wanker" for two "shits" in the script for The Only Way Is Essex. Perhaps things would change if they introduced games consoles to Soho House or the Groucho, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
One argument I constantly came up against when pitching TV shows was so fallacious it drove me insane with anger (while also graphically illustrating the lack of understanding of games and the overweening self-importance of TV people). It went thus: "Why would people want to see TV programmes about games when they can get a better experience by actually playing those games?"